July 22nd 2002. A big money move saw young Rio Ferdinand with bags of potential join Manchester United from Leeds, the fee was huge, £30,000,000, a fee like this would bring doubters, including captain Roy Keane who said to Rio in training, “you are not worth £30,000,000!”after criticising his negative play style. But what Sir Alex Ferguson does best is bring the best out of players, and with Rio Ferdinand, this was the case. As Rio enjoyed a long 12 year stay at the club.
He brought fantastic qualities; strength, pace,height,leadership and he could play a good pass unlike the typical stereotype of an English defender who is thought mostly to play the old-fashioned “long-ball”.
Since Rio left we were always going to lack in the qualities he brought, not often you find a defender who is so calm and composed on the ball and for a big lad, this quality is unique.
In the summer of 2014 Manchester United set out on the tour in America, a young boy was brought along with them, a defender by the name of Tyler Blackett, who previously had spells on loan with mid-table Birmingham City; although he played in left back the majority of his stay with the team in blue.
Tyler Blackett looked the ‘real deal’ out in the United States and the player we all saw looked exactly like a Rio Ferdinand-type player. He possessed his unique qualities, the pace, the strength,the height, the tackling and certainly the composure with the ball. He also has the physique and aggression which really does link with Ferdinand.
Two accomplished performances out in the USA against two big names in world football such as Roma and LA Galaxy meant that young Blackett secured a start on Saturday 16th August at home to Swansea City, although a shock loss occurred, Blackett proved there was something to build on.
One of Blackett’s best performances came against QPR at home, this season. The young Mancunian was so reliable at the back, you could see the delight on Daley Blind’s face as he would look up and find that Blackett was waiting to receive a pass and then with his powerful left foot, play a calm pass forward or backwards to a red shirt.
Tyler Blackett’s loan spells prove he can be adapted to any position, although centre-back on the left side seems to be where he is most comfortable.
In the youth cup 2012 against Swansea, James Wilson stood over a free-kick about 20 yards out, he calmly rolled the ball forward for a tank-like Blackett to smash it through the crowd and straight into the net, moments like these are special for a defender and states a question whether young Blackett should be the man over the free-kicks or whether Angel Di Maria is better in this department.
But like any young player unfortunately there are set-backs, it is not always an easy road for youth, any mistake can be capitalised on and with Blackett, a poor mistake against Leicester City where a shock 5-3 took place, he was foolishly sent off for attempting a last ditch tackle.
Tyler Blackett has matured in many ways and has impressed his Dutch boss Louis Van Gaal enough to secure a 50,000 a week contract until June 2017 with a chance to extend it for a further 12 months. In this recent contact signing he quoted “I am thrilled” which really proves he is a man ready to impress and is hungry and eager for a first-team place.
Young Tyler Blackett has been with the club since he was just eight. He is now 20 years old and has made 10 appearances when he signed his contract. The new kid on the block Tyler Blackett certainly has the potential to cement a regular first team spot for years to come, he can do it, but will he? Or will he be another player like Ritchie De Laet, Darron Gibson, Gabriel Obertan and Federico Mancheda. Will he be fringe or future?